Release from previous citizenship


As a rule, you cannot keep your previous citizenship if you want to become a Norwegian citizen. You must therefore give up ('renounce') your previous citizenship before we can grant your application.

Who must renounce their previous citizenship?

  • In some countries, the law is that you will automatically lose your previous citizenship when you are granted Norwegian citizenship. If you are a citizen of a country with such laws, you do not have to do anything.
  • If you are a citizen of a country where you will not automatically lose your citizenship if you are granted Norwegian citizenship, you must renounce your citizenship before we can grant your application. It is the legislation in the country where you have your previous citizenship that decides whether you lose or can renounce your citizenship if you become a Norwegian citizen. If you are uncertain about what rules apply to you, you can contact the authorities of this country or one of the country's embassies or consulates.

When must you renounce your citizenship?

  • If the legislation in the country where you have your previous citizenship does not permit you to renounce your citizenship before your application for Norwegian citizenship has been granted, you will be given a deadline of one year to submit documentation from the authorities of this country showing that you have been released from this citizenship. 
  • If you cannot be released from your previous citizenship before you have reached a certain age, the one-year deadline starts running from the date on which you reach this age limit.
  • If the legislation in the country where you have your previous citizenship permits you to renounce your citizenship before the application for Norwegian citizenship is granted, you will receive a promise of Norwegian citizenship. A promise is not the same as a decision to grant Norwegian citizenship, but it means that the UDI is obliged to grant you Norwegian citizenship if you renounce your previous citizenship within the one-year deadline. The promise is only valid for one year. If you do not renounce your previous citizenship by the deadline, we will as a rule reject your application.

You are responsible for doing what is required to be released from your previous citizenship by the deadline we give you.

Exemption from the release requirement

In certain cases, the UDI can make exceptions from the requirement that you must renounce your previous citizenship: 

  • If the legislation in the country where you have your previous citizenship does not permit you to be released from it, or if it is not practically possible to renounce it.
  • One example of a situation where it would be practically impossible is if you have to travel to the country in question to renounce the citizenship, but a civil war or similar circumstances make this dangerous or impossible. Another example is if the country lacks a functioning government administration, so that it will be impossible to be granted a valid declaration of release.
  • You must document that you have applied to be released in accordance with the laws of the country in question, and that your application has been rejected.
  • As a rule, this will only apply to persons who have been granted protection (asylum) in Norway or hold a permit for refugee-like reasons, and only if the circumstances that resulted in you being granted protection still exist.
  • You will not be granted an exemption if the country's authorities have stated the case processing time for being released. If you have received a promise of Norwegian citizenship, we will consider whether we should grant the application subject to the requirement that you renounce your previous citizenship by a stated deadline after the application is granted.
  • The main rule for what constitutes 'unreasonably burdensome conditions' is that the release fee must not exceed four per cent of your general income. (How much this is will be stated in your tax certificate and tax settlement). If you have care and control of children under the age of 18, you are exempted from the release requirement if the fee, if relevant including the fee for any children who are to be released, will exceed two per cent of your income. The release fee must be more than NOK 2,500 in order to for you to be eligible for an exemption.
  • You can also be granted an exemption if releasing you from your citizenship would result in you losing property, inheritance or rights (e.g. the right to a pension) in this country. We will take this into consideration when considering your case.
  • Travel expenses, expenses relating to translation of documents or lost income from employment as a result of your application to be released do not give grounds for an exemption.
  • If the authorities in your home country have rejected your application to be released.
  • If you cannot contact the authorities in the country to apply for release out of consideration for your safety.
  • If it takes more than one year to be released from the citizenship.
  • If the country's authorities stipulate unreasonably burdensome conditions for releasing you from your citizenship.

How to ask for an exemption from the release requirement

If you believe that you fall under one of the exemption groups in the list above, you must hand in a written statement of the grounds for this and documentation from the public authorities in your home country that shows why you cannot renounce your citizenship. You can either hand in this together with your other application documents, or send it in electronically afterwards.